Jhondie

Jhondie

I had a friend once whose favorite expression was "it's all good".  She said that reminded her that whatever problems life threw at her, it was all for the good.  When you faced a challenge, it made you stronger, a better person.  As I stood in the trauma room of the ER, I kept telling myself "it's all good" over and over.  I was having a hard time believing it.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact I was staring at my father's lifeless body on a steel table.

Dad got off of his shift a couple of hours before.  He walked outside the ER right as a gang was doing a drive by on the hospital.  Why they were doing it nobody knew.  What happened, we all knew.  Dad was shot twice in the chest.  Two of the other doctors got him back into the ER and started trying to resuscitate him.

One of the nurses called Mom.  I was so glad I was home.  It was "family night" at Justin's, so I couldn't go with him to do some research on a story we were working.  Mom told Kayla and I that Dad had been shot, and it was serious.  We got to the hospital in record time, and then waited.  The doctors worked on Dad for almost an hour, but one of the bullets went through his heart, and in the end they couldn't stop the bleeding.  Dr. Jack Alexander Harris was pronounced dead at 5:04 PM.

When Dr. Greer walked out, I knew.  So did Mom.  Doctors have different expressions for seriousness.  Dad would joke it was a secret class at medical school.  Dr. Greer had the "I'm sorry, we did all we could" look.  Mom started to cry silently, and Kayla was letting out little whimpers as she started to cry, but I couldn't at all.

They cleaned Dad up as best they could and let us see him.  I could not even make myself cry.  I was so cold.  The last time I'd been this cold I was in a river during the middle of the Wyoming winter.  All I could think of was the last time Dad and I had a father-daughter talk.  It was a few months ago when he had to work a graveyard shift, and I was sitting on the roof when he came home.  He climbed up there with me and we talked about life, the universe, and all things.  It was funny how in all these years, he'd never said anything to indicate I wasn't his blood child.  But this last time he told me that even though God had taken one daughter from him, he'd given them a blessing they'd treasured every day.

And now I couldn't even cry.  What was wrong with me?  I wanted to.  I wanted to scream that it wasn't fair.  I felt like I had distanced myself a thousand miles from the situation.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear Lydecker's speaking.  "Emotion will always be the failing point of a mission.  It is the ultimate weakness in a solider."

Mom finally took a ragged breath, and leaned over Dad's body, kissing him one more time.  "I love you Jack," she whispered.  She straightened.  "Come on girls, it's time to go."

We walked out of the room together.  Mom promptly fainted.  She's strong, but this had done more than just knock the wind out of her.  I caught her before she hit the ground, and that's when Kayla went into hysterics.  Dr. Greer helped me get Mom into another bed, and got the pediatric doctor to give Kayla a sedative.  He gave Mom something to help her sleep through the night.  Kayla was out cold.

I could tell Dr. Greer thought I was in shock and might need to take something too.  What could I say?  Sorry, doc, I'm just falling back on training I received as a kid in a top-secret project.  That didn't seem right.  My hands were shaking; I started to worry about having a seizure.  That would just be the icing on the cake.

I asked one of the nurses if I could use the phone.  I went to the nurses' station and dialed.  I knew most of them, and vaguely heard their sympathetic words.  Please answer, I prayed, please just let someone answer.